Canadian Court Declares Freeze on Crypto Donations During ‘Freedom Convoy’ Protests Unconstitutional
In a judicial rebuke, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that the Trudeau government’s decision to freeze cryptocurrencies during the 2022 “Freedom Convoy” protests was unconstitutional.
Trudeau Government’s Emergency Powers Challenged: Court Rules Crypto Freeze Unlawful
In a ruling on Jan. 23, the Federal Court of Canada deemed the Trudeau government’s use of the Emergencies Act to freeze funds and cryptocurrencies during the ‘Freedom Convoy’ protests in 2022 as unconstitutional. Justice Richard Mosley concluded that invoking the Emergencies Act was not justified as there was no national emergency.
The controversial move by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government in February 2022 aimed to curb financial support for truckers protesting Covid-19 vaccination mandates. It marked the first time the law was used to freeze financial assets, including cryptocurrencies.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), the Canadian Constitution Foundation, and various groups contested the government’s decision, arguing it was unnecessary and a violation of constitutional rights. The court’s decision validates their stance, asserting that the government could have used other means rather than resorting to the Emergencies Act, a measure deemed an overreach.
Protesters in the ‘Freedom Convoy’ had blocked streets in Ottawa, opposing mandates for truck drivers crossing the Canada-United States border to be vaccinated against Covid-19. The government had labeled the protests as an illegal occupation, necessitating the use of the Emergencies Act.
This ruling has implications for the use of crypto assets in political protests. Digital assets played a part in funding the trucker protests, with estimates of millions received in cryptocurrencies.
In February 2022, Gofundme froze over $9 million in donations for the protests. The fundraising subsequently shifted to Tallycoin, a bitcoin-based crowdfunding platform, where the Honkhonk Hodl group garnered over 22 bitcoin, valued at approximately $925,000 at that time. The Christian crowdfunding site Givesendgo also emerged as a key platform, raising over $8 million, including unknown amounts in crypto. Canadian authorities later froze bank accounts linked to Givesendgo donations.
Following the court’s decision, the CCLA said in a released statement:
The CCLA stood up to the government’s use of the Emergencies Act and challenged the government in court. The Federal Court’s decision sets a clear and critical precedent for every future government.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced the government’s intention to appeal the ruling.
What do you think will be the repercussions of this ruling? Share your thoughts and opinions about this subject in the comments section below.